Best Novella, books, Burn, change, Fantasy, friends, Kotahi Bay, Maiden mother crone, short story, Sir Julius Vogel Award, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves

Long time no blog

Hey there! I know, I know, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything here. Not because I’ve been doing nothing, but because life has been so busy lately. I mean, really busy. We’ve been away several weekends, a wedding, a homeschool camp, we’ve been down with colds for almost two weeks now, and there has been SO much going on. I can’t talk about some of it right now, so you will just have to take my word for it.

Basically, the past month or so has seen a massive shift in where my wee family is headed, and that’s been scary, sad, and exciting all at once. We’ve got what feels like a gazillion balls in the air right now, and I’m as okay with that as I can be 🙂 Doing a lot better than I had expected anyway.

Sadly, this has meant not as much writing as I’d have liked. Stress does that to me. I can anxious and can’t think creatively. It’s coming back to me now, though. I’m a bundle of ideas and am looking forward to putting some of them on paper in the next few weeks.

But first, I have to make it through the weekend! Au Contraire is coming up fast, and I am both nervous and excited about it. I am really looking forward to seeing people I don’t see nearly enough, hanging out amongst other like-minded people, talking geeky writerly stuff, and enjoying a great selection of panels and discussions. And I am nervous as fuck about convening a panel myself! On mythology, with some AMAZING authors, one of whom I’ve been a fan of for a very long time now – Juliet Marillier. I’m going to get to meet her! And then ask her questions! And omg!! How am I going to be able to speak? I just have to try not to stutter through the whole thing somehow…

I’ll also be at the At the Edge book launch directly before the mythology panel – my short story ‘Hope Lies North’ appears in it, and I am super excited to get my hands on a copy – and at the SJV’s on Sunday night as well, where all my books are finalists. I have zero expectations of winning an award myself, but I’m thrilled to be able to be there and cheer on some friends who I am sure will be picking up trophies! Fun times ahead. I am very much looking forward to heading to Wellington for a weekend that should include most of my favourite things (that aren’t my husband and kids, but I guess you can’t have everything right?).

I shall endeavour to update on a more regular basis, and hopefully soon I will have something fun to announce.

Take care!

April, authors, Burn, Characters, Fantasy, Friday, I'm in love, productivity, progress, Uncategorized

Friday I’m in love…

It’s been ages since I’ve done a Friday, I’m in love. But today it’s perfect for it to be Friday, and perfect for me to be in love.

You see, I’m very close to finishing the first draft of the last book in a series. Which in itself is a first for me.


I hope not. I wrote Burn years ago, and published it a little over a year ago. That novella began from a themed call for submissions which included an older female protagonist. Carmel took that role, in place of a younger version of her who originally held it in an even earlier story prompt… This thing has a long history.

20150803_203741Burn didn’t make it into that particular anthology, seeing as I accidentally submitted a psychology assignment instead of the book… But, that just meant I had the freedom to publish it on my own, and I’ve enjoyed doing so. It’s got a few fans, and everyone who reads it wants more.

The only thing is that I’d never planned to write more, not on that story anyway, so I had to stop what I was doing and make a decision – write the story I’d originally intended, or write the one my readers most wanted. I opted for the latter. I’m not entirely sure that was the best decision because I have struggled with the sequels for longer than I’d have expected to. But it’s been really fantastic learning experience.

Anyway, I finished Flare a few weeks back, gave it a round of revision and sent it off to betas – they loved it. They told me this just as I was reaching the final scenes of Ignite, and that added to the overwhelming feeling that I was going about this all wrong. In fact, my characters showed up on the page and revealed something which almost made me quit. I’ve since convinced them that my original plan was better, and they’ve realigned themselves with a little convincing.

And I’m really happy with how it’s all coming out. I mean, I was REALLY worried about finishing this series, getting it right, doing a good enough job. But instead of the intense angst I felt around it last week, now I am blissful. It’s all come together. I’m tying up the storylines, I’m totally at peace with the way this is concluding, and for possibly the first time in my writer life I’m not rushing towards the ending, desperate to close it off and never look at it again.

I’m doing it right. And it feels SO GOOD.

becoming, books, Burn, editing, etherhart press, Fantasy, January, Kotahi Bay, Maiden mother crone, Uncategorized, year ahead

2016 Begins

The new year is here! While I was feeling incredibly excited about it toward the end of last year, now that it’s here, I am tired. I worked my butt off in the last days of 2015 and the first days of 2016, and now have a cold.

This is NOT going to be a ‘start the year how you mean to continue it’ year. But it does give me opportunities to practice one of this year’s goals, which is to be kinder to myself. I spent most of yesterday lying in bed, resting, and hopefully, soon I will be back to 100%.

20160104_090019Following on from last years goals, I thought I’d do something similar – nothing too specific, but goals that will get me moving in the right direction. I DO have some definites I want to tick off, but for now, I just want to paint them in broad strokes, which is another act of kindness for myself – much harder to be self-critical that way.

So, kindness. I am giving myself a heart sticker for the days when I am kind to me, whether those are small or large kindnesses. I’m also going to keep track of the days I write with stars. I fell badly out of the habit of actually writing last year, and I’m going to work on reinstating that habit in 2016 using this monthly planner thingamie. Yay!

20160104_090104I’m also going to work through my current bookshelves – both print and digital. Now that I have a bookshelf I’ve realized there are a bunch of books on there I haven’t read. Things I’ve picked up from the withdrawn section of the library, things passed along from others, things I purchased super cheap years ago and never got around to reading. I imagine there are a bunch of books I don’t even like on my shelves, so it’s time for a clear out.

PhotoGrid_1451853786930Speaking of books I’ve been given, my mother-in-law gave me Wonderbook for my birthday last year and I intend to work my way through it over the year.

In terms of publishing goals, my main focus right now is finishing the Maiden, Mother, Crone series. I’ve decided not to publish the second and third books individually, and am going to release a very pretty print omnibus once it’s all edited and ready to go. Aside from that, I’m looking to publish another two Kotahi Bay books – and anything else is icing on the cake 😉

becoming, books, Burn, challenges, change, editing, etherhart press, Fantasy, Goodreads, new zealand independent book festival, NZIBF, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves, Uncategorized

2015 Year in Review

2015 has been a massive year of ups and downs for me – mostly downs, but I think that’s changing. Despite that, I think I did pretty well with my goals for the year.

While I haven’t yet reached my ‘books read’ goal for the year, I’m pretty close, and I *think* I read more published stuff than pre-published. I did do a reasonable amount of editing work, but it was primarily for cash, and that was a nice change. After much consideration, I have decided to cut back even further on the number of clients I’ll work with in order to really give my own writing time to shine. While I love having some cash I made all on my own, and it’s meant I could cover all my costs without digging into the family income, I’ve come to realize that it’s sapping my creative energy, and that’s not good for my writing (or my mental health).

IMG_20151223_145519638I think this year has gone a long way to the ‘reconnecting with myself’ goal. It’s quite intangible, but I think people can look at me now and SEE that I am more comfortable in myself now. I got my nose re-pierced, and I dyed my hair awesome colours. The general consensus is that I should have done it years ago, and I look more’me’. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks so 😉 Though to be honest, it wouldn’t really matter if they thought that anyway – I did it for ME.

I did some other things that were a little outside my comfort zone, such as attending the Independent Book Festival in Auckland. I had a much better time than I expected, and learned that actually, I can totally be a people person when I need to be – AND enjoy it! (even if I need, like, a week off life after to recover lol).

Alongside these things I published three new pieces. Two novellas, and my first full-length novel. Sun Touched has been a long time in the making, and it’s been amazing to get it out there and have people read it. The most common thing I hear from readers is that they could barely put it down, and just had to keep reading – mission accomplished! Dad doesn’t always enjoy my stories, but he loved Sun Touched, and gave it to a friend of his to read while she recovered from a hip operation – and she is going to try and get it in at the library near her! lol

I have LOTS of hopes for 2016, but primary among those are to treat myself more kindly, give my writing the time it needs, and continue to build on the things I started this year. More on that in the new year – until then, enjoy the last of 2015, hope you had a lovely Christmas, and have a happy New Year.

authors, Awards, Best Novella, Burn, etherhart press, Fantasy, New Zealand, new zealand author, self publishing, Sir Julius Vogel Award, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves

Sir Julius Vogel Nominations are open!

smback-v5The nomination period for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards has officially opened! Between now and 8pm on the 28th of February 2016, you can nominate your favourite NZ works in a range of categories.

This year I have several works eligible, so if you feel like any are worth nominating, below are the essential items – you can just copy and paste (one email per nominated work), and add your contact details to #7, and boom, it’s done!

If you do – thank you very much! And if you don’t – that’s totally cool too 🙂 Nominate something else, because there are plenty of AMAZING eligible works. This past year has been really great for kiwi fiction, and I know I’ll be nominating a fair few myself.

ESSENTIAL Information

This is to enable SFFANZ to verify and process the nomination.

  1. Sun Touched
  2. J.C. Hart
  3. Novel
  4. 2015
  5. Professional Awards
  6. Science Fiction
  7. [your contact details here]
  1. Burn
  2. J.C. Hart
  3. Novella
  4. 2015
  5. Professional Awards
  6. Fantasy
  7. [your contact details here]
  1. The Way the Sky Curves
  2. J.C. Hart
  3. Novella
  4. 2015
  5. Professional Awards
  6. Fantasy
  7. [your contact details here]

Nominations can be sent to:

Burn, publishing, Sun-Touched, writing

On making mistakes, silver linings, and working too hard.

SunTouched_ECover_10-8-15v2Last week a dear friend let me know that there was an error in the digital version of Sun-Touched. My heart stopped beating because I knew I’d generated that from the same file I’d generated the print copy, which meant that the print books I had ordered all had the same error.

A doubled up chapter. Somehow, I had inserted Chapter 21 in its slot, as well as Chapter 27. (the book is there in it’s entirety, I later realized that there was NO chapter 27 in my final proofed doc for some reason! lol)

Much to my amazement, I didn’t cry, I didn’t even feel anxious because it was DONE. No way to change it. The books were printed, the order had shipped. There is very little point ‘crying over spilt milk’ as they say. I was miffed that I had missed it, and initially worriedsick about losing the money I had sunk into those books – I work hard editing to save the funds I need to pay for my publishing, and pride myself on paying for all my business expenses from money I’ve earned – but then I tweeted about it, and Fb’d some friends and you know what? So many people want a copy of the version with the error that I know I’m going to have no trouble selling them. And when people say things like ‘It will be worth heaps when you’re famous!’ it’s a lovely boost.

So, I might have screwed up, but I was reminded of how supportive my friends and fans are, and I got to see that actually, I’m really am a lot better balanced than I thought I was these days. Husband dearest had no worries with me ordering a new lot of books for the NZ Independent Book Festival with his money, and I will be able to pay him back in the very near future.

Feels good! Boom! First massive stuff up made and recovered from!

In other news, I’ve been a tad flat this last week or so as well. I’ve been working my butt off for the last several months, first on my own stuff, and then on a bunch of jobs for others. My slate cleared and it felt AMAZING, and then I slumped. Apparently a Cassie without a project isn’t really a good thing. She kind of just wanders around feeling out of sorts with the world. I had reached the end of my ‘plan’ and failed to make a new one – I’ve rectified that issue now!

Today, I start work on the sequel to Burn. It’s untitled yet, but I have a plan! Really excited to get writing 🙂

Oh and happy September!! WTF?! How did that happen?!

Burn, publishing

Print copies of Burn!

IMG_20150825_093042405Yesterday I came home to find a box on my doorstep. I wasn’t quite sure what it was when I saw it, and in fact was really surprised to find it was my order of BURN! It’s so early! Not complaining, no way.

I welled up, and confess that I rubbed a copy against my cheek lovingly. Oh, it’s such a sweet thing. A book you wrote. A BOX of books.

I’m sending out a few pre-orders today and will have the pleasure of hand delivering the others. So exciting.

Burn, Maiden mother crone, publishing, Release day, self publishing, writing

Release day!

Burn Release promo

Burn is now officially available for purchase!

It’s always exciting when a new book hits the shelves. I slept so badly last night though, thinking about potential errors and wondering whether I had made those last minute changes I meant to, or whether they’d been forgotten in the flurry of activity. There is always something forgotten. I’ve never seen an entirely error free MS, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to make it as perfect as I can.

Anyway, I saw the email when I (stupidly!) checked my phone at 330 am this morning. Managed to squeeze in a few more restless hours of sleep before I just HAD to get up and check how it all looked. Gosh. I still love that cover so much. I can’t wait to get my hands on a print version.

I’m trying really hard not to check sales numbers and ranks this time around. I’m this awkward blend of excitement and nerves, and not for the first time, my eldest provided me with words of wisdom in the form of song.

Some people are going to like it, and some aren’t, and that’s fine. I just need to shake it off – dance to the beat of my own drum. I’ll leave you with the song of the day and the knowledge that I’m just going to keep on writing my own stories in my own style. If you do pick up the book, I hope you enjoy it. And if not, don’t worry, I won’t take it personally 😉

Burn, change, Dwell Design & Press, publishing, website

Website make-over!

firewordsI’ve had a make-over! Late yesterday afternoon I handed control of my website to my very good friend and designer Kate from Dwell Design & Press. It was time for a change. I have been meaning to revamp things for ages, but just didn’t have the time or inspiration for it. When Kate offered, I jumped at the chance, and stepped back so she could work her magic without my interference 😉

And I LOVE it. Take a look around. Let me know what you think – feel free to let me know if there is anything you’d like to see on the site that isn’t here now. So exciting! I am sure there will be tweaks still to come, but it’s just so lovely to have a fresh looking space.

On the home page you’ll find a sign-up for my newsletter. I’m planning to kick that off in the next week or so – monthly updates, yo! Again, if there is anything you love to see in newsletters, let me know. I’m going to have fun with it and am keen to hear your suggestions.

In other news, Burn is back from the proofreader and I am going to work through the changes and hopefully get the formatting done today while I am out at my library session for the week. I can’t wait to release that book, and will probably bring you a snippet tomorrow while I wait for Amazon to make the e-book available.

All the good things 🙂 So many good things.

Hope you have/had an excellent Valentines day. Sending you all a little bit of love.

Burn, February, in the spirit, Kotahi Bay, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves

All the things

There are so many stories running through my head. So many. Not just mine, but all the stories by authors I have been editing recently as well – a huge range: contemporary, thriller, mystery, MG, science fiction. In fact, I’ve taken about a week off from editing in general just to try and dull the clatter in my brain.

BURN_Final E-cover_JC HART
Sick of seeing it yet?? I don’t think I ever will be!

Well, editing other than my own, anyway.

Final edits on Burn are now complete and the MS is off with the proofreader. I’m both nervous and excited to bring it to the world – as pure fantasy, it’s quite different to In The Spirit. There is none of the lightness and laughter that my first release had. The characters are completely different, and where Alyssa is young, a bit of a slob and maybe a tad too fond of wine, Carmel is old and weary, and never had any kind of freedom or joy in her youth. I worry that readers of one won’t like the other, but then I have to remind myself that books are allowed to have different readers, and I can trust people to read blurbs and samples if they aren’t sure. It’s not my job to stress out about it, only my job to make sure I’m telling the best stories I can – regardless of the genre.

I’ve headed straight into what will hopefully be my last major revisions on The Way The Sky Curves. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve just loaded Shell and Bone onto my Kindle so I can start reading through and making notes. I can’t believe I am THREE books deep in this series already, with just two left to write. It’s actually kind of bizarre. I’m going to be starting planning on the last two very soon – I know how it’s all going to end though!!! I’ve never seen that end picture until recently and I can’t wait to write it!

Alongside all of this are thoughts of the other book I want to publish this year. Sun-Touched is one of my favourites, and will be the first full length novel I bring out. It’s different again from the world of Kotahi Bay, and Burn. Science fiction set on a relatively newly colonized planet. I am itching to get back to Madea and do my final edits on that book. Oh, it’s going to be so good!

So, there are all the things going on right now. I’m going to need to find some new tactics for keeping the noise in my head under control. Maybe not editing four books back to back is a good idea, just for starters 😉

How is Feb treating you?